Sunday, September 30, 2012


*** (3 stars out of 5)
Voyager's shields are breached and a boarding party literally smashes their way to the transporter room.

Who could it be? Well, it's Seska, riding Cullah's coat tails. Also, she designed the coat and taught him how to dress himself. She's the power behind Kazon Maje Cullah's stinking throne.  She's putting her face back on while cooking up schemes to rob Voyager blind.

Neelix has to 'play the cabbage' and ask Janeway 'Dur, what would be so wrong wit' givin' Kazons all your stuff, George?'

When Seska's cleverly executed raid wins her orange goons the pieces of a working transporter, Cullah quickly finds a way to kill people with it. Only not Seska- unless she gets too uppity she's still his main squeeze. Yeeugh.

Chakotay takes it upon himself to swipe the transporter back in a daring sneak attack of his own. It worked beautifully up to and including the point where they caught him and started to beat the living access codes to Voyager out of him. They were waiting months to play Bad Cop, Sexy Snake Cop.

A concentrated burst of Button-Pushing B'Elanna's spirited technobabble wrests Chakotay free and Janeway has someone new to be sad at. Her office is becoming less a Ready Room than a 'Very Disappointed In You Room'.

"Maneuvers" is a black eye for starship Voyager, a split lip for Chakotay, and, at the time, a rape allegory throughout as Seska takes Chakotay's seed to knock herself up while he is an unconscious prisoner. Good effects and performances throughout. It's nobody's fault that I was sick of the Kazon almost the minute they were invented.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Little Green Men

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Don't think of it as losing a Nog, think of it as gaining a Worf!

Nog's off to Starfleet to join up, and his famously generous uncle is giving him a ride to Earth in his brand new shuttle Quark's Treasure. It is not really a coincidence that the hold is full of illegal kemacite and that Orion is on the way back.

Quark got the shuttle from his weapons-dealing, moon-owning cousin Gaila. When it turns out the brakes are cut on the warp drive, Rom the Savant steps forward and saves them all with mad technical skills that ignite the kemacite but throw them back in time to a crash landing in 1947 New Mexico.

The tobacco addled, atom-bomb building humans of that powerful nation-state that starts with A (hint: not Australia) take a dim view of the strange space beings. The cute and cuddly scientist/nurse duo want to communicate and make peaceful new friends. The army guys want to deploy a box of men.

Quark, of course, plans to screw with history. Rule the planet, sector, and probably Quadrant with financial prognostication, technological superiority, and sales prowess. If he can avoid being cut up for fish bait.

Nog's plans haven't changed much: he's just starting early on tricking Earth females into rubbing his ears, while Rom's plans include wailing for his Moogie to save him.

"Little Green Men" is fun take on the Roswell legend. The humour and jeopardy are well juxtaposed. All the Ferengi are in top form, and Charles "Heading Out To Eden" Napier is as perfect as the hard-ass General as he once was in The Original Series as the free-loving space-hippie.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Starship Down

*** (3 stars out of 5)
It's 'Disaster' once again, or 'The Poseidon Adventure', if you prefer. Well, 'Poseidon Adventure' without any water. Or maybe 'Watership Down' without rabbits?

Anyway, Defiant flounders in a gas giant, playing injured mouse spaceship to a Jem'Hadar cat spaceship. But they DO insist on going into the Gamma Quadrant on irrelevant errands, don't they?

Kira must directly confront her feelings of worship for her clearly mortal Emissary as she helps injured Captain Sisko cling to consciousness by telling him Bajoran Fables.

Bashir and Dax are stuck in a turbolift, growing ever colder with the oxygen running out. No hanky and or panky ensues, much to everyone's disappointment.

Quark and his disgruntled trade partner Hanok must overcome Quark's ingrained dishonesty and Hanok's high-and-mighty streak of hypocrisy, and take a deadly gamble on defusing an unexploded torpedo jutting through the wall. Or just get an Exocomp that's three days from retirement to do it...?

Worf has to ride herd on O'Brien's iconoclastic engineers, Muniz and Stevens. Somehow the Klingon Commander must strike a balance between striking up a conversation and striking them in the face with his mek'leth. (For the ladies.)

"Starship Down" is average space adventure. It's getting tough to sympathize with people who have everything they need at home but regularly go hours out of their way to do their shopping next to a crack den on a gang block in an enemy country in the midst of a holy war. Somehow Karemman trade agreements don't seem like sufficient reason to KEEP PROVOKING THE DOMINION! Did we ever see Captain Kirk zipping across the Neutral Zone for his weekly bag of Romulan weed? No, we did not.

(Speaking of weed, and otherwise apropos of nothing save the 25th Anniversary of ST:TNG's premiere, please enjoy this terrifying video.)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cold Fire

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Ten months after meeting The Caretaker, Voyager encounters his better half. If a Sporocystian Jellyfish who kidnaps everything in the galaxy to mate with can be said to HAVE a better half. Also, she's not better. She's totally evil.

Kes has expanded her telepathic power with Tuvok's help, although he objects when she giggles at overhearing Neelix's thoughts. Neelix treasures his ear hair. I can relate!

Janeway apparently gave the Caretaker's shrivelled, pumice-like corpse to the Doctor for a paperweight. It starts buzzing when the Voyager passes within 10 light-years of the other Sporocystian.

Suspiria the Nacene's got a fancy schmancy space station and 2,000 pet Ocampa. Their leader, Tanis, tells them that Voyager is getting a reputation as a 'ship of death'. Three centuries of cultural divergence has changed these elves a lot: they live twice as long, have psychokinetic abilities including "enhancing life" and oh, they're totally evil.

It's true: I hear Suspiria even founded a school of Ballet and Witchcraft where students came to nasty ends in rooms full of barbed wire.

As a precaution against the barbed wire, Tuvok prepares a Suspiria-specific toxin.

Tanis prompts Kes to become telekinetic and pyrokinetic. While showing off for her mentor, she IGNITES Tuvok's blood. HOLY SH-NIKEYS! Was that ever a shock first time through. As usual, even ROASTED BRAIN is no sweat for the Doctor to fix right up. Take two hyposprays in a glass of water and go on light duty for a couple of days!

Tanis gets his jollies by teaching Kes how to set her arboretum on fire. His insights have led him to total amorality. I find it utterly mind boggling that Kes is tempted by any part of this freakshow. 'Come with me to Exotia! A subspace domain of pure thought! Burn, baby, burn!' This guy's loopier than "The Tick" cartoon fruitloop 'The Midnight Bomber What Bombs At Midnight'.

Kes actually thinks it over with a bashful smile, kicking her feet, "Oh, I don't know." Duh, O.K.! Show me how to boil my friends! Sounds neat-o!

If Tanis is a creep, Suspiria is a complete Nutbar, Part of this Psychotic Breakfast! She blames Janeway for the Caretaker's death, torments her crew, and when Janeway shows mercy, Suspira slithers away back to Exotia.

"Cold Fire" is creeptacular, but it's not terribly logical, the villain's motive is inexplicable, and there is no follow up. Ever. If it oozes, it loses.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


** (2 stars out of 5)
Evidence mounts that Chakotay's tribe was descended from the Rubber Tree people of the rainforest. And the Rubber Tree people were themselves hybrid descendants of an alien race known as the Sky Spirits. If that makes no sense to you, don't worry. It doesn't get better, but don't worry.

A long time ago, endorsed by a dude called Captain Sulu, Teen Chakotay joined Starfleet over the objection of his tradition-minded father Kolopak. When the Cardassians killed Kolopak, Chakotay honoured him by getting his face tattoo and fighting back. That's the good part of the story.

Now, on a world in the Delta Quadrant, a tree falls on Chakotay with nobody around to hear it. If you wish, like I do, that the rest of the episode never happened, you could pretend that the tree knocked him out and everything else was a fever dream.

Meanwhile, The Doctor, evidently short on compassion (to an absurd degree for someone who just endured a physically painful existential crisis in 'Projections'), programs himself with flu just to spite all those sick and/or pregnant whining whiners. Like that whining Neelix with his eye gouged out by a hawk! Wimp!

The first officer shows his respect for the Sky Spirits by disarming and disrobing. This is only unusual when it turns out they themselves are dressed and toting weapons. 45,000 years ago, it seems the Sky Spirits "genetically gifted" and inspired a group of Earth's pre-verbal nomads to settle America.

The gods of the Indians are real! And, sadly, they're just more white guys with guns. Pretty underwhelming for Star Trek gods. Remember Apollo, the narcissistic date-rapist? Kukulkan the winged-serpent with all the lab animals? Indolent or malignant trickster-gods like the Q?

Now we're left with Benevolent Blonde Baby-Daddies without whom the Native Americans would apparently still be shivering in a snowbank.

"Tattoo" is tough. I mean, I'm all for 'interspecies genetic bonding' but with PRE-VERBAL strangers? Respect for one's ancestors is exactly why I wouldn't say they needed to breed with space aliens to achieve things.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


*** (3 stars out of 5)

Think back. WAY back. To the first Trill episode, 'The Host'. Back in the year 1991 before bigotry and intolerance vanished forever. If you'll recall, Dr. Crusher was O.K. with loving up a Trill in different host bodies, but only to a point. Well, TWO points. The ones under the tunic. Boobs is what I'm saying. Crusher wasn't into girls.

That's not as much a problem for Dax.

Today we learn that in Trill society 'Re-association' (specifically romance with people you romanced in a former body) is a HUGE No-No. Breaking this taboo means permanent exile from Trill and no more host bodies. It's a death sentence for the symbiont. Somehow, this didn't deter Crusher's chum Odan. Weird guy. Didn't look like any Trill we've seen since, convinced a transporter would kill him, and really blasé about getting caught smooching with an old flame. Which in his society WOULD kill him.

The B-story brings lady scientist Lenara Kahn to DS9 to make the first (intentional) artificial wormhole in the Federation. The Kahn symbiont, in a former host, was the wife of Torias Dax back in the day. Kahn's relatives are not too keen on her hanging out with Dax. Dax's friends are O.K. with it, except the death sentence part.

In secret, Dax and Kahn kiss, and Dax invites more. Kahn chickens out, and probably for the best. I'm not one to stand in the way of love. But DEATH SENTENCE!

Oh, if only the Trill were more tolerant! One day, they will look beyond the physical body! One day, they'll be as open-minded as humans and grudgingly allow same-race, same-sex kissing on TV without fear of their children going blind, and eventually, to hell.

"Rejoined" gets a lot of credit for "Star Trek's First SAME SEX KISS" which I'm not so sure it deserves. It's a good story, but I seem to recall Uhura and Chapel kissing in 1966's 'What Are Little Girls Made of?' Oh, fine, here's a reminder for you:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Persistence of Vision

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Janeway's stressed to the max. After a consultation with her minuscule holographic physician, the Captain is ordered to take a rest break in her creepy Gothic holonovel. Perhaps burying herself in the part of Lucy (or at least burying herself in Lord Burly's sideburns) will do the trick.

Are sardonic asides like "Friendly fellow, isn't he?" (when a new alien is anything but) part of the proscribed duties of a helmsman, or is it just Mr. Paris?

Preparing to meet with the weird and xenophobic Bothans (no relation to the ones from Star Wars) Janeway starts to have hallucinations right out of her holonovel. Flowery tea cups and cucumber sandwiches are all very well, but Carolyn Seymour brandishing a carving knife is sheer brown jumpsuit territory.

When the Bothan steps out of the shadows he's a different face to everyone: Janeway sees her boyfriend Mark. Kim sees Libby. Tuvok his wife, T'Pel. Tom, sadly, sees his condescending smother-father.

Everyone goes catatonic in their various psionic dreamscapes. Torres gets the hots for her private dancer: Dreamy Chakotay. Janeway gets the guilts for Mark: his hunky green sweater glares accusingly at her potential unfaithfulness.

Over nasty objections from a Neelix Delusion, and a psychic Battle of the Drippy-Pus-Burns with the Bothan, Kes successfully implements an automated Defence against the Dark Arts.

"Persistence of Vision" is a bit of a girl's story, isn't it? I mean, Torres' previously (and subsequently) unmentioned desire for Chakotay? The Emmy nomination for hairstyles? Janeway's holonovel? I just don't see a lot of dudes wishing they were the naive domestic servant overpowered by the task-master Bawdy Lord Burly and all his tawdry goings-on. Well, straight dudes, anyway. Perhaps I'm making unwarranted generalizations. Anyway, it's pretty cool that Kes saves the day. It's not a bad thing to have a girl story. Star Trek can be a boy's domain so exclusively that it's time for some new perspectives.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


*** (3 stars out of 5)
As often happens in real life, a freedom fighter is required to team-up on an extended desert camping trip with a former dictator to find his extra-marital mixed-race love child. And talk him out of killing her just to save face.

It's a classic tale. In fact, it's 'The Searchers'.

Kira and Dukat track down a crashed prison transport in hopes of locating loved ones among the living captives and their guards. To hear Dukat tell it, he had a unique and special relationship with the Bajoran Tora Naprem while driving the Cardassian Death Machine that was tearing the living heart out of her home planet. Also, while avoiding his Cardassian wife and 11 Cardassian children. What a guy!

Fortunately, Kira makes every effort to fend off Dukat's potential repugnant romantic advances somewhat. Her new, tighter uniform pants, towering high heels, and previously displayed peek-a-boo knit tanktop aid her in these efforts.

Speaking of baffling relationship decisions, Sisko gets in hot water with Kasidy simply by saying 'It's a big step', when she asks him how he feels about her moving onto Deep Space Nine. And everyone under the suns start teasing Sisko about his fear of commitment. Nice empathy, Starfleeters. Let's see how funny that is when your wife explodes.

"Indiscretion" isn't afraid to asks the tough questions. Such as: who's seen a Breen? There's no Breen to be seen. Is there a Breen in this canteen? I'm not sure what you mean by a Breen. Oh, you mean the Breen we've seen in the Jabba's Palace scene of Star Wars Episode Sixteen... I mean, SIX? They've enslaved Dukat's daughter Ziyal in a sweltering dilithium mine for six years since she was nine. It's obscene how mean they've been to that tween!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Hippocratic Oath

*** (3 stars out of 5)
Worf stalks a Markalian smuggler while Kira drinks a Tarkalian tea. We hear some snark alien from a Quark alien, also.  Worf has trouble fitting in on Deep Space Nine: since by any normal sense of justice and fair play, Quark should probably be in jail, even one of those cushy Federation jails.

Mr. Worf is asked politely and then not-so-politely not to be doing Odo's job. Odo catches pickpockets, Worf's supposed to catch Maquis and Klingons in butterfly nets or something. Actually, I don't know what Worf's job is. Be awesome and bring in viewers, mainly.

Meanwhile, O'Brien and Bashir pancake in on Bopak III because WHY THE HELL ARE YOU STILL GOING TO THE GAMMA QUADRANT!!! Remember how they promised to kill you if you went there, then killed all those Cardies and Romulans that went there?!?

Bashir complains about the stench of the jungle, so O'Brien asks if they should try the crash again. I love those guys! But they are on opposite sides of good arguments today, when they run afoul of Tosk and his Jem'Hadar crew... wait, that's not Tosk. I get these obsessive, humorless space lizards mixed up.

Tosk's identical cousin Goran'Agar takes them prisoner and demands Bashir cure his troops of their addiction to the enzyme ketracel-white, and thereby their enslavement to the whims of their Vorta masters (middlemen to the Founders, but most Jem'Hadar never meet their squishy gods).

Bashir is a brilliant doctor and a good person, so he's all for it. O'Brien, however, is all for escaping and NOT giving the Kill-Snakes everything they need to run totally amok in the wide universe. Tough call, guys!

"Hippocratic Oath" is perfectly adequate Star Trek sustenance. I give it a shrug and an 'It is What it is". Not exactly a ringing endorsement but then I'm just grumpy because I haven't had my morning white.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Visitor

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Jake, Jake, Jake. You gotta take better care of yourself. You look like Candyman's Grandpa!

Old Jake Sisko lives in a bayou, and had only two books published in his lifetime. His dad died when Jake was only 18. And he's never been able to heal because his lost father never really goes away.

After disintegrating before his son's eyes, Ben Sisko momentarily reappears every so often, knocked out of alignment with time by a warp core accident. You gotta watch those Vonnegut plugs: they'll unstick you from time every time!

37-year-old Jake is finally happy again as a writer, married to a painter named Korena, and is still chums with Starfleet Commander Nog. But one visit from his drop-out dad, and Jake ditches writing to get a subspace physics doctorate to try to save him. (It's a tough discipline: you need to know how many beans make five, but in 12 dimensions and the beans are usually picked before they were planted. And there's a good chance of Solanagen-Based Lobster-Lizards eating your results. And face.)

50 years after Sisko vanished (and having lost Korena while buried in his work) Jake of 2422 joins forces with Captain Nog to get the Defiant, Jadzia, and Julian out of mothballs. Klingon High Councillor Worf lets them enter the occupied Bajor system. They wear the 'All Good Things...' uniforms. Uniforms that scream: THIS NEVER HAPPENED!

In the scant seconds they have together Ben begs his aging son to build a better life. Finally, Jake returned to his writing, and he's told this strange life story to his young fan Melanie. Jake has timed the moment of his death to coincide with Ben's return: cutting the cord between them is the only way to "snap" his dad back to just before the accident... and prevent it.

Like Drunk Tom in Harry Kim's alternate world from 'Non Sequitor', Jake gives everything in his life ... and then his life... all for the love of his father. Take that, Giving Tree!

"The Visitor" definitely deserved its Hugo nomination for Best Dramatic Presentation. If it had to lose to something, I'm glad it was Babylon 5.

Best line of the night: "I'm no writer, but if I were it seems to me I'd want to poke my head up every once in a while and take a look around, see what's going on. It's life, Jake. You can miss it if you don't open your eyes."

Thursday, September 20, 2012


*** (3 stars out of 5)

Tom Paris runs a flight simulator as Kes' instructor. It's one of those SEXY flight exams and it gets a little sexy. Ever-vigilant Neelix seethes!
Trying to avoid his crush on Kes, Tom ends up provoking Neelix into a food fight with a side order of knuckle sandwiches, see?

Janeway forces them on a mission together. In moments, predictably, they've crashed. (That's three down. How many shuttles could Voyager possibly have to spare..?)

'Planet Hell' has trigemic vapours that burn without an osmotic skin sealant. Only the orange hide of the Snooki could withstand it.

Unless Kes is feeding us a line of guff, Ocampans mate for life, NEVER suffering from jealousy, envy, or betrayal. That... well. That's very interesting. Certainly that will never be contradicted in later seasons...

Tom and Neelix get to play 'My Two Dads' with a cuddly baby dinosaur. It shouts 'Not the mama!' and bangs them on the head with a pot. It lives on high-protein fog, causing Neelix to shout the classic: "Suck those hearty vapours!"

I'm also fond of Tom's: "If you hear muffled screams, consider that a request for a beam-out."

I was pretty sure "Parturition" had something to do with barriers, like partitions. After all, they nearly choke the baby by building a wall, and much is made of relationship boundaries and communication barriers! But, in fact, Parturition means "childbirth". Anyway, it may be average, but it's a fun average.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Way of the Warrior

***** (5 stars out of 5)
Captain Sisko is running preparedness drills for changeling infiltration. Plus he's making sure no changelings can sneak aboard in his hair. Bald worked for Picard, and it's working on Captain Kasidy Yates. She gives her man a baseball cap and smooches!

Extreme civil unrest is the least of the newly-minted Cardassian Empire's worries: Klingon General Martok drives up in a fleet spoiling for a rumble with the Jem'Hadar... or Morn... or anyone else they happen to see. And they're looking at Cardassia.

Me? I'm looking at Dax and Kira in swimsuits! This scene (foolishly removed in syndication), gratuitous as it is, earns a star all its own. Yowza!

Martok's son Drex and his goons beat on Garak to the tune of seven broken ribs. Then the task force harasses Kasidy's freighter in case it has changelings. MISTAKE! Mess with his tailor, Sisko just shrugs. Mess with his lady... better hold onto your foreheads.

Sisko could use an officer who understands Klingons. (Besides Dax, of course.) Starfleet happens to have one of those: pouting in a monastery ever since he... um... let his old ship get shot down by Klingons. A big, brooding guy we like to call... WORF! Maybe he'd like to hang out here? It's not like he has any friends, responsibilities, or sons...

Based on the photo, Alexander had another growth spurt. And FACE spurt. And he's been bounced back on the grandparents again. Couldn't keep up with him before, old Russian couple? Try Klingon tweens!

Worf punches Martok's son, flirt/fights with Dax, and plies an old man with booze, songs and head-butts. Thus he learns the Klingons are going to fight the changelings in the Cardassian government. Assuming there ARE any, which is neither here nor there.

The Klingons easily conquer several Cardassian colonies on their way over. And a Breen Fried Chicken Franchise. The Federation condemns the invasion, so Klingon Chancellor Gowron responds by ending decades of peace with the Federation. (Also, I think he kicked the Federation President's cat.)

Gowron, full of pith and vinegar, calls Worf to glory in battle. Unwilling to abandon his oath to the Federation, Worf stands up to Gowron's threats to exile him and fire his brother. Of course, Gowron doesn't make threats.

Unlike Worf, Dukat is a master of making the right ally at the right time. Dukat has recently become Chief Military Advisor to his shiny new civilian government. Sisko takes the Defiant in, riling up the Klingons to save a bunch of self-serving Cardassians who are very possibly a bunch of Changelings.

Worf must have been hitting the incense pretty hard on Boreth: he's forgotten that mission where the Enterprise used a cloaking device. He thinks the Defiant is his "first time".

In my favourite ever scene between Quark and Garak, the bartender likens the Federation to root beer: vile, happy, and cloying. "You know what the worst part is? If you drink enough of it, you begin to like it."

Deep Space Nine is now so heavily armed it can afford not to aim. They fling torpedos into the void with about a 50% hit rate against the Klingon fleet... and still win.

Worf's back in red, and it looks better than it did in 2364. He's the new Strategic Operations Officer. Softness in his eyes, iron in his thighs, virtue in his heart, fire in every part of the mighty Worf-ules!

Featuring dazzling action sequences, good humour, and riveting drama, "The Way of the Warrior" is a heaping helping of amazeballs with the sweetest of awesomesauce.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


* (1 implosion ring out of 5)
Kes's second birthday party is crashed by some crap called a distortion wave. It then becomes a distortion ring. The distortion ring surrounds them WITH A RING "forcing" them to pass through. (Now, since Voyager can move in 360 degrees wouldn't it take a GLOBE to enclose them? Arrgh! This is weapons-grade nonsense, surely designed to infuriate the audience. And it never lets up.)

The ship becomes a maze, our crew meandering around in aimless loops. 'One Riker! One Bridge!' howls Worf... I mean, B'Elanna. Sorry, I was having 'Where Silence Has Lease' flashbacks. And that's no fun for anyone. Torres doesn't spazz out, she gets flustered when she walks in on a guy in his underpants. Now THAT'S fun for everyone!

The distortion ring becomes an implosion ring. It's well on its way to becoming an onion ring.

Cunning Plans are proposed for Tuvok to use the thrusters, or Torres to create a shock pulse. Even if she does this RIGHT Voyager will explode. LONG story short- these plans fail.

Communing with the Onion Ring somehow, Janeway spews gibberish. 'Lights of Zetar', anyone?

Chakotay's 'Roll over Submissively and Think of the Federation' Maneuver deployed on the horny flagellates from 'Elogium' is used again. Tuvok proposes sitting quietly and letting the phenomenon do whatever it wants to them. Everyone holds hands and things get freaky and/or deaky.

And that's that. Something left 20 million gigaquads of STUFF in the computer and as they never explain it or mention it again it was probably 20 trillion spam e-mails: 50% kitties, 50% porn.

Oh, and Neelix shows up at the end with cake, and no explanation of where he's been. This might be the vestigial remains of a joke, but nobody's laughing.

After enduring "Twisted", the confusion of endless identical rooms is the closest this comes to something good: the movie "Cube". Was 'Twisted' trying to be scary? Silly? Just fill time?!? I loathe it so. What I wouldn't give for a palate-cleansing Deep Space Nine feature-length epic with space battles and the return of a beloved character... oh, that's tomorrow? What luck!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Non Sequitur

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Ensign Kim wakes up in San Fransisco with Ba'el's identical human cousin Libby. (You all remember Worf's bathing beauty Ba'el from 'Birthright', don't you?  Not just me? These gratuitous Jennifer Gatti scenes are rather memorable... I mean, CRUCIAL STORY POINTS!)

When asked what day it is, Libby answers 49011. (Uh... do people really think in Stardates? I'll accept it, but... well, it's weird. Wouldn't you expect her to say Wednesday? Unless it's Tuesday...)

Harry's swapped destinies with his Academy chum Danny Byrd, who got the post on Voyager.

Stereotypically ethnic barista Cosimo (of Cosimo's Cogs 'N Coffee) brings Kim a Vulcan mocha every morning. Harry graduated eight months ago, requested service on Voyager... and got turned down. He must somehow console himself with his lovely fiancee and fulfilling job designing spaceships.

Time really IS screwy. There are people in hundred-year-old uniforms outside Harry's office!  (No wonder, since the establishing shot is from Star Trek IV.)

Poring over the Voyager's crew manifest, Harry notices Tom Paris wasn't aboard either. The pool-playing parolee missed the boat because he got into a bar fight with Quark.

Breaking into classified files and talking to a Maquis sympathizer gets Harry a new anklet and some complimentary house arrest.

Cosimo "explains" that he came from a temporal inversion fold in the space-time matrix. (Whatever that is.) When Harry's shuttle collided with it, history got slightly scrambled.

In order to keep his cushy job, Earth-adjacent apartment, and towel-clad lover, Harry has to be willing to accept a reality where his own inadvertent actions wrecked things for Tom and Danny. And he's too good a guy for that!

"Non Sequitur" had a happier ending when I thought of it as reversible time-travel, rather than maybe a viable alternate reality.
If that reality still exists, Tom made the ultimate sacrifice and Libby's still probably never going to get Harry back.
Speaking of which, avoid hairy back with Deltan Depilatory! You'll need to re-record your Oath of Celibacy when your partner gets a feel of your smooth, supple skin! (This blip-vert is an unpaid advertisement on behalf of Delta IV and the United Paramount Network.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012


** (2 stars out of 5)

Kes absently munches beetles like popcorn, then grows aghast when she realizes what she's doing. Then she puts beetles and pickles on her ice cream. And she's eaten six bowls of buttered mashed potatoes and soil. And a bouquet of flowers.

You guessed it... Space Puberty!

The delirious Ocampa lass locks herself in the Doctor's office and grows a pouch on her back. This mitral sac is for her Cabbage Patch Kid, which usually arrives when she turns four or five. But she's not even two. And ready or not, it only happens once in her lifetime. If Kes wants a child, it has to be now, now, NOW!

Due to biological nonsense, Kes's palms sweat Krazy Glue which will bond her to her mate for six days to ensure conception. (Provided neither partner murders the other to avoid SIX DAYS OF COPULATION.) That'll happen after her parent (or in this case, the Doctor) massages her feet until her tongue swells. No, it's not some heady unpublished fanfic... THIS is HAPPENING.

And who's the culprit?  Well, a swarm of creatures FLAGELLATING through space. Space. SPACE!!! WTF are they flagellating AGAINST?

Voyager nudges the swarm away with deflector magnetism. So the creatures decide to have sex with the starship. And a massive, affectionate rival jealously attacks. Chakotay's surprising solution is awfully telling: roll over and act submissive.
Janeway's congratulation to her commander is equally telling: "In the future, if I have any questions about mating behaviour, I'll know where to go."

To top it all off, Ensign Wildman has just realized she is seven months pregnant. Though her husband on DS9 doesn't know it, their efforts will soon bear fruit. Well, a half-human half-Ktarian. I assume that's a mammal, rather than a fruit. But one never knows.

"Elogium" is icky sticky. If Kes and Neelix' relationship seemed dubious before, it now seems downright illegal. And when your premise is "Voyager Screwed By Space Fish" you might want to re-think things before you get out the cameras.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


***** (5 stars out of 5)
I've been in love with holograms since Princess Leia's, or at least since Red Dwarf's.  So the Holographic Doctor on Voyager was a shoo-in for my favourite character. I had his cardboard standee looming over me at home for years. So an episode of his own is just what the doctor ordered.

Nothing adds up when the entire crew turns out to be holograms, and the Doctor a flesh-and-blood human being.  Lieutenant Barclay pops up like an engineering genie to provide the explanation: the Doctor is actually Lewis Zimmerman; a programmer on the Jupiter station, and his Voyager simulation study of long-term isolation has malfunctioned. A radiation surge has damaged the hologrid and Zimmerman's memory. Holgrams aren't programmed for headaches, and the Doctor sure has a doozy right now.

Only by destroying the simulation can Barclay's team get in to save his life.

Or is our twitchy IT guy lying and the simulation is the only thing that's really really real?

Now able to roam the ship's key areas, delete "characters" like Paris, and even reset time back to his first activation during the "Banjo Man Crisis" months earlier, 'Zimmerman' grows more agitated and confused about his nature: Hologram or human? Person or projection?

I think they coined the expression "Nerdgasm" for stories like "Projections".

With Rene Descartes and Philip K. Dick clearly in mind, Brannon Braga wrote a cracking great bottle show about a guy cracking up, and they brought in one of my favourite characters from TNG to steal the show from the hologram who stole the show.  'Zimmerman' and Barclay are just the best. What a duo! What a tale! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story! Although OF COURSE it is. OR... is it?

Friday, September 14, 2012


*** (3 stars out of 5)
You just don't get many good Chakotay episodes. And I think very poorly of the Kazon stories overall. This might be one of the best of both.

While mourning for his father in solitude, Chakotay is attacked by an angry young Kazon called Kar, attempting to earn his name.

The commander easily wins the dogfight but makes every effort not to kill his assassin. This changes nothing- Kazon only respect killers.

Chakotay cherishes the hard work that earned him his Starfleet uniform. Kazons fought hard to be free of uniforms: stealing everything they have from the Trabe in a revolt 26 years ago. Previously whitey... I mean, the Trabe had all the ships and guns.

"Initiations" showcases heroic, admirable Chakotay, though behind the scenes his creators were pulling him in different directions: trying to make him more Indian, more Maquis, more Starfleet... whatever their agendas happened to be. They agreed on "pacifist with teeth", and it works well today.

Aron Eisenberg is a fine performer, but nothing the Kazons do strikes me as laudable. They were created as urban gangs, but they don't evoke any sympathy.

They're like an echo of the disgruntled inner city guy from seventies Green Lantern: "You done a lot for the blue people, and the green people, but why you never done nothin' for the orange people?"

These particular orange people are too powerful to pity! Voyager's been barrelling along at 4 billion miles per second for over seven months, and the Kazon-Ogla who could barely find water are STILL dogging them? That's a HUGE territory! Even the benevolent, co-operative, centuries-old Federation can be crossed (at one of its thin spots, granted) in two months. How did these ass-hats carve out this vast, stupid, self-destructive stomping ground in only 26 years?

I hate the Kazon. And they'll be here all year. Tip your waiter!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The 37's

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Abducted by aliens 434 years apart, brave airship captains meet by chance on a distant world.

The impossible discovery of a manure-caked farm truck from 1937 drifting in the void of space leads Voyager into mystery! They spare no expense, circumstance, or pomp to land on a planet in search of an S.O.S. from an airplane of the same historical vintage.

Which leads to the uncorking of a batch of random frozen abductees including famed pilot Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred. Missing since 1937, because they were in a cave tens of thousands of light years away. It's always the last place you look...

Frayed nerves and disoriented (read: drunk) navigator leads to a hostage situation, defused mainly by the laser fire of the locals. Beneath their wacky felt helmets they are humans: a slave class taken from Earth centuries ago, who revolted against their Briori masters and destroyed their galaxy-hopping kidnap wagon.

In the belief that he is dying, Fred Noonan confesses his love for Amelia, but Fred's simple sucking chest wound is all in a day's work for Voyager's holodoc.

Love and settling down becomes the question of the day. Of the 152 crewmen on Voyager, who wants to live on a perfectly paradisaical planet with nice humans in three very affordable offscreen cities we're told are very nice, and who wants to devote their lives to the long, lonely journey home?

"The 37's" has such a wonderful premise it's easy to overlook the fact that it runs out of steam and mumbles to itself towards the end. (An apt metaphor for the series as a whole, if you ask me.)

And I could have used, oh, about a dozen more answers. Why would these Briori travel to the other end of the galaxy for slaves when there's easier pickings within a few hundred light-years? Why ONLY humans and not a mix of cultures? Why ONLY the 1930's? How did they take enough humans to breed viably without anyone noticing, and WHY would they bother being sneaky about it if they had no reason to fear retribution? If they started with 1930's knowledge and overthrew their whip-crackers centuries ago, why hasn't this colony developed space travel yet? They are going to find themselves picking space cotton again for the Kazon or organ-harvested by the Vidiians if Amelia doesn't start pointing their eyes heavenward.

A few months back, I saw a documentary demonstrating a theory that the real Earhart and Noonan could have made land but been devoured alive by crabs (making the "crashed into the sea" hypothesis a lot more appealing). That particular histo-doc offered little in the way of answers about how the crabs ate AN AIRPLANE, however. So I'll reserve judgement and just admire that plucky aviatrix, dead or alive for all time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Adversary

**** (4 stars out of 5)
Ambassador Krejensky notifies the newly-promoted CAPTAIN Sisko of a major season-ending event.

There's been a coup among the Tzenkethi, on their home planet of Flimsy-Pretext.  Somebody better rush out there in a gunship and rile them up or there might be another Federation-Tzenkethi War. (Like Sisko fought years ago: so terrible no one ever even mentioned them before.)

Someone on board is not what they seem!

We learn today that Defiant carries a crew of 47, only one of whom seems to be an engineer (O'Brien, of course) and most of whom can be confined to their bunk beds with no loss of ship's function. Take a lesson, Voyager (they can't run with less than 60 or 70)!

Also, we learn that nobody in this crew ever saw either the 390 or 360 year old movie 'The Thing'. Not even on Blu-ray. Or they'd have come up with their "defense" against shapeshifters a little faster:

Draw blood from a human- you get blood. Draw blood from a shapeshifter- not so much.

Of course, you really have to double up on blood guys in case of shifty-dickery. You need a buddy system for everything and nobody here can seem to manage it. (I can criticize through my Tostito-dusted lips knowing full well you'd be able to tell ME from the Shifter by the crap in my pants and the fact that I'd be dead before Act One.)
Again we hear the mantra from Chokey the Changeling while he's trying to spark an interstellar conflagration: "No changeling has ever harmed another." Sure, we attack Odo, but harm? Never.

But can you call it a victory if you defeat one drop from an ocean?

"The Adversary" is derivative but worthy. Great effects, good stunts, intense jeopardy, and especially strong paranoia. And Deep Space Nine gets even better NEXT season!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


**** (4 stars out of 5)
Dax asks her seven most convenient friends to join her in the Zhian'tara; the Trill Rite of Closure. Literally... JOIN her. "I'd like to borrow your bodies for a few hours."

Because who WOULDN'T want Group Therapy- all by themselves?

A Guardian telepathically sieves out the past hosts into volunteers to interact with Jadzia:
Kira as Lela, the first Dax Host- a legislator or suffragette, or something.
O'Brien as Tobin, Brilliant Braintrust, Nervous Nelly, Spirit Guide author.
Leeta as Emony the limber, limber gymnast. Rrwowr!
Quark as Audrid, tenderhearted soccer mom. Jadzia needs more gal pals.
Bashir as Torias, Died Young, Left Good-Looking Corpse. With a worm in it.
Sisko as Joran the whack job.
Peter Davison as The Fifth Doctor.
And Odo as Curzon.

The forcefulness of Curzon's personality and Odo's innate malleability is an unprecedented combination. Curzondo is a hard-living, hard-tranya-drinking, Benson-employing, selfish jerk that Jadzia fears she cannot stand up to.

Odo never ingested things before, due to the mess. Once Curzon departed, Odo must have had to expel more liquid than six Denevan racehorses.

Meanwhile, Quark wants Nog to take after Jake. At least the Not-Joining-Starfleet part of Jake.
But as their newest cadet reminds him: "Uncle, he wants to be a writer. There's no profit in that."

"Facets" is more fun than Voyager's similarly titled and themed 'Faces', for those into sci-fi navel-gazing. Plus it's easier to re-watch than 'Sybil'!
Avery Brooks' creepy Joran was the second attempt. The LESS creepy version. Yikes.

Monday, September 10, 2012


*** (3 stars out of 5)

Ever heard of the ol' Separation of Church and State? Neither has Bajor.

Kai-Slash-First Minister Winn orders Kira to make her old terrorist friends return soil reclamators to the Provisional Government's Provisional Fat-Cats.

Handsome Shakaar and his fellow farmers are refusing on the grounds that everything about it stinks like Quark's underoos.

When Kira proposes a compromise, Winn sends cops. Kira slugs them. Shakaar's rag-tag band of fugitives gets back together on Kola mountain, or Big Rock Candy Mountain or something. Winn is "forced" to declare martial law.
Does Bajor have no aircraft today? Transporters? Would you believe a small pair of binoculars?

Sisko refuses to help Winn find the dissidents, (say... with orbital scanners, perchance?) So she threatens to withdraw Bajor's application for Federation membership. (This is particularly nonsensical, since I'd imagine the UFP probably gives out FREE soil reclamators with that membership card she's spitting on!)

A six-second chat between outlaws and cops makes it clear that nobody's heart is in this. Everyone shakes hands and goes home except Shakaar who gets to hang his ruggedly handsome overalls in the office of First Minister. Democracy! It's the nice word for blackmail!

"Shakaar" is a re-tread of 'Progress', with a touch of the Li Nalas Trilogy. There is no indication that Kira is reprimanded or even that Sisko really minds her wandering off the job for two weeks. (Maybe Odo grew some shoulder pads and turned red so nobody noticed she was gone...)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Learning Curve

**** (4 stars out of 5)

Crewman Dalby from New Jerksey is something of a jerk. So he and some of his fellow Maquis who can't hack it on Voyager are assigned to remedial Starfleet training.

And not a moment too soon. Young Gerron the Bajoran is almost surly. Bolian Chell is blue, literally.  Henly wears HEADBANDS, for God's sake!

Only Mr. Tuvok's years of Academy Instructor Training have any chance of shaming and exhausting the individuality out of them before they accidentally have a feeling.

Also, Neelix's bacteriological warfare experiment succeeds in infecting the Voyager's bio-neural gel pack circuitry, nearly crippling the ship for capture by his Haakonian overlords! No. Wait. He just left some cheese cooking by the air vent. Same thing.

Janeway and Torres cure the ship's sniffles with a burst of hot plasma 'fever'. Coincidentally, 2371 was the year Hot Plasma Fever got to #1 on the Federation Pop Charts with "Cardassian Rapists Smashed Her Skull" by Kenneth Dalby.

Also, backpacks are heavy and you should only run if there are Circassian bears after you.

"Learning Curve" has a fun guest cast, not least of which is Derek McGrath as Chell. There is a certain, oh, shall we say, hypocritical quality to Tuvok being a stickler for the rules when he was flagrantly breaking them so recently in 'Prime Factors', but it's still a fine tale about flexibility and adaptation. There probably should have been MORE colourful secondary characters in the series overall, so I appreciate this 'Lower Decks'-style story and its snapshot of who is behind all those grey bulkheads, degaussing all the stuff that needs degaussing.